Lombard, IL (PRWEB) June 29, 2012
Since the economic downturn as media and advertising budgets have been reduced, industry events and trade shows have remained a valuable means of connecting with decision makers.
?Although trade show attendance may be down, booth sizes may be smaller, and associations are challenged with membership as companies have reduced their budgets, savvy influencers and buyers are still attending and participating,? said Dan Gartlan, president of Stevens & Tate Marketing. ?Attraction Marketing can help improve the results for companies that incorporate show attendance in their growth strategies.?
As part of its Attraction Marketing (http://www.AttractionMarketingUS.com) initiative, Stevens & Tate educates marketers on how to ?Show Up In Style? to events. This means implementing a pre- and post-show plan to maximize their time, and following structured, measurable activities to improve performance and increase results.
?Show Up In Style? is one of six key Attraction Marketing strategies. Attraction Marketing, according to Gartlan, is the process of making a company, its products, services and culture more attractive to prospects by driving specific marketing initiatives with people and resources already in place.
?Planning is the best way to make trade show efforts pay off,? he explained. ?Based on your business, your goals will vary?but you need to write them down, make them public and track results.?
Create A Detailed Budget For Each Event
First, Gartlan recommends creating a budget for each show with both hard and soft costs, including all time spent by the team prior to and after the event. This allows management to determine whether the event will be financially feasible. Also, set an expected return on investment and look at a new client?s ?lifetime value,? which would include potential revenue for the next three, five or 10 years.
60 Days Of Ongoing Communications
Next, develop a 60-day communications program to reach out to those who will be attending. Build a team to execute the program so the process does not rely solely on any one person. Teams also create accountability and increase the likelihood of success.
Start 30 days prior to the show and send out emails and notes to potential new customers, clients or associates. Set goals for each of these and track your activities against the goals. Many events today have a pre-registration list available online. This puts you and your company top of mind with important contacts and decision makers.
At an event, speak to and collect business cards from prospects, keeping notes on what you discussed and commitments. Again, set a goal such as ?cards of at least 10 vice presidents or directors.? When visiting a booth, face time is limited?make the conversation meaningful. Also have at least two 10-minute conversations with a client?s competitor to learn more about how they are positioning their competitive advantages.
Following the show, reach out via LinkedIn to all new contacts. Follow up with an email and phone call to schedule a meeting with the ultimate goal of generating a new business proposal or presentation.
Gartlan recommends using social media before, during and after the event. Post ideas, thoughts, photos and relevant content on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Plan In Advance For The Show Activities
For larger trade shows, plan out each day in advance. With a calendar on a phone, laptop or in the office, schedule each activity as it is expected to happen, even if tentative. Make the schedule public in the organization to keep others abreast of activities. Never mark on the calendar one big ?Out Of Office? block. Being specific and writing it down, or in this case typing it out, adds to the commitment to success.
Preschedule at least two meals a day while at the show with prospects and clients. Even a cup of coffee will do. Breaking bread has been replaced with email and conference calls. Take the opportunity to sit and talk. Prescheduling increases the likelihood that get-togethers will actually occur.
Attend educational sessions where prospects will be. In marketing, for instance, the owner, CEO or president often is the hiring decision maker so we would recommend attending sessions on finance, insurance and other CEO level topics.
The Marketing March
Activities lead to results so set measurable goals for both. Next create a simple dashboard that graphically monitor activities and results. Bar or line charts showing the monthly goals with the actuals in Excel work best.
?During the 60 day period that you are marketing the show, 30 days prior and 30 days after, conduct 15-minute, weekly meetings to report on progress and make decisions on future activities regarding particular relationships. Frequent updates also help keep the team motivated and on track,? said Gartlan.
?Generating leads that can be converted into sales is the purpose behind any marketing initiative?and trade shows can and do deliver,? Gartlan concluded. ?To be attractive to prospects and draw them to your team, you have to do more than just ?show up.? You need to make the most of your investment and ?show up in style.??
?Show Up In Style? is one of six key strategies, which although independent of each other in scope and tactics, all work together toward the same objective?to drive a company?s ?attractiveness? to potential clients.
Along with being an innovator and expert at Attraction Marketing, Gartlan is a skilled speaker who can offer presentations, education and training in many areas of marketing and advertising. His exclusive consulting services range from one-on-one guidance to acting as a team leader for an innovation workshop or competitive advantage exploration.
For more information on these consulting services or Attraction Marketing call (630) 627-5200 or visit the website at http://www.AttractionMarketingUS.com.